When to use high-end wine glasses

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Dear Lynne,

If wine glasses are so important, why do the Italians and French drink their wine from glasses that look like jelly jars or something you use for orange juice?

–John from Portland

Dear John, 

When the wine gets serious, usually so do the glasses. Those tumblers are for everyday wines. In Italy and France, stemmed tulips with plenty of room for swirling and sniffing come out with the special bottles. 

If you’re looking for justification for spending serious money on glasses, test drive top-end Riedel wine glasses or the less expensive Spiegelau. Each glass is shaped for a specific wine, delivering the liquid to a certain area of the palate. The priciest Riedels are so sheer, the wine seems to float onto the tongue.

Being a skinflint by nature, I was skeptical, but am now a convert. Of course skinflints don’t give up easily. My compromise is an “all-purpose” glass that’s fairly sheer, holds about 18 ounces and was on sale for a ridiculously low price. Keep an eye out -- you could score a bargain.

-Lynne

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